Keith – “Runner”!

Runkeeper (un)helpfully indicates the Royal Parks Half Marathon is 111 days away.

I think I will be in a good space and good shape for the race even though my training has only just started.

I have chosen a plan from Walk Jog Run which has me running 3 times a week (increasing to 4 in August) and running easy or conversational runs followed by distance work on the weekends.

So far it’s been going well and even though other commitments got in the way this week, I am very happy with how I tackled the 4 Mile run on Thursday evening.

My head is in a clearer space now and I have plenty of guidance from Richard, my running friends. Especially Paul who is doing a great job at coaching me. Not just with the runs but also with any doubts or questions I have (and I have a lot of questions (sorry Paul!)).

Zen and the Art of Running is a really interesting and inspiring read (it must be as I finished it in little over a week). I’m not sure if it’s all stuck in my head but the basics are there.

I need to practice the zen methods both running and when not running but I can see clearly how this approach can help. I can see how I must work to not let myself get hindered by my own doubts or worries. To squash my fears and lack of confidence and just go for it.

I will read it again to repeat the exercises now I should be back to my normal routine but I already tried to apply some of it I Thursday and felt great as a result.

When I mentioned to Janice last week (in amongst a mammoth week at work – and she could see the stress on my face and how tired I was)… I mentioned on the busiest day I was going home that evening to run the 4 miles part of the training – she smiled. She stated how proud she was of me and that 12 months prior I was worried about running just a couple of k let alone being at ease with 4 miles.

That, the book and the advice from Paul and Enda (and others online etc) have all added up to prove I am a runner. I try not to talk about it constantly but I love running, I miss it when I’m not doing it and (most bizarrely) I am now giving friends and colleagues advice. Advice they are actively seeking from me as they too want to start running.

I could regret not doing any of this sooner and I could be angry my PE teachers didn’t pick up on this ability when I was at school but there’s no point dwelling on the past.

I did enjoy athletics (I was Athletics Captain one year for our house), short distance sprinting, badminton and swimming, so there was some sports interest there.

Anyway I have found running now and am extremely happy I did.

I have decided to remove Gipis from my iPhone. It did a great job at monitoring and training me to run faster for the 10K but at the end of the day it’s another app and something else to update.

20130616-151127.jpgI am going to get myself a Garmin Forerunner 210 and use that to train and pace myself. It comes with a Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) and lots of other features and I want to use this seriously to get my training right.

I don’t plan on winning the half marathon but want to ensure I am well prepared ahead of the race and have the best information and knowledge before the 6th October.

Nearly a year ago I wrote about running with tech and I find it interesting how things (for me) have progressed.

I’ve enjoyed running with my iPhone and my Fuel Band has been useful too. In fact without the music and coaching from the iPhone I am sure I may have not gotten where I am now.

I was already running when I got my Fuel Band but it does help motivate you when you see you’re not going to reach your daily fuel target.

I’m now about to reach 2 million Nike fuel points (Nike I think I deserve a prize) and I will then stop wearing the Fuel Band (and probably put it on eBay). I don’t look at it that often and syncing and charging it is a pain.

It’s great to use as a watch mid run as its very bright but I don’t like that I have to switch it on to see it and if I achieve a goal mid run that gets in the way (I know I can switch this off but don’t as it only annoys me when I run).

Anyway the plan is to continue to run with my phone (in case I am stuck in a sticky situation) but use the Garmin to track and to train me.

I’m planning to use the HRM to monitor my effort as I am sure there’s more power in my legs than I give myself credit for. Both the Richmond 10K and this weeks 4 mile run were great but I had energy spare to sprint the last kilometre!

I believe the half marathon cannot be run with music and am going to ween myself off the music and see how I get on.

It’s all about what I’ve been used to but I do believe that running with the watch tracking me and nothing else should help.

I’ve found a rhythm now and have stopped looking at iSmoothRun for an update on distance etc. I am sure I can cope with just the km beep from the watch as a guide.

I’d never imagined I’d be talking about such things or with such confidence but I am and I am now pretty clear on my goals.

This seems like such a different place from where I was in the middle of that cold, dark, icy winter.

I do not know what time I want to achieve for the half marathon but I simply want to complete it.

I’ve had a weekend (or rather a day and a bit) at home and seeing my mum has reinforced my need to complete the race and raise as much as I can for the British Heart Foundation. That’s my true goal. A good time would be great but completing my first half marathon by running the whole course and being of sound mind and body would be my ultimate achievement.

I have considered (and looked long and hard) other 10K races to participate in before October. Trouble is they’re either too far away or clash with other plans.

I have considered the Humpty Dumpty run in Norwich in a couple of weeks but am not sure I could drive myself there (about 90 mins), run the race then drive home (Richards at the cricket that day).

20130616-152859.jpgI am therefore delighted to hear that Colchester now has a Park Run which is about 15 minutes from the house in Castle Park.

My plan is to attend a couple of these (they are 5K and free to enter). Then run home or add any extra mileage I need to do following the race.

This will get me running with other people, should build my confidence and help me get used to race conditions. And the best part is it’s free!

Once I purchase the Forerunner hopefully I can integrate the Garmin runs into my other apps but its not a problem if I cannot as the Garmin site gives me everything I need.

I do however like the recent updates to Runkeeper and may sign up for the months subscription in October so that people can see my live progress during the run (sets calendar reminder to set this up).

Anyway I am amazed how things are progressing and thanks to all the points mentioned I can recognise myself as a runner (updates status on running sites from “beginner” to “runner”) and that I have grown a lot in the last year.

I’m also very pleased with my physical abilities too. I am probably the most fit and toned I have ever been and have reduced the amount I use my inhaler.

Richard has been a tremendous support throughout this journey and I’m not sure whose more surprised that I have continued to run, him or me!

He’ll of course pull my leg about it but I know he’s proud of my achievements and lets be honest, he gets some benefits from my running too…


  1. Great post very informative and amazing how we have gadgets to really improve our lives. Likes your last sentence. … Ivan.


    1. Thank you Ivan. I am surprised how I have progressed in such a short space of time but am still really enjoying it.

      What can I say about my closing sentence… 😉


  2. Nike should have some sort of reward thing. If you do 50 Park Runs you get a free t-shirt, so I’m sure a company like Nike could sort something out!


Thanks for your comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: